Summary of changes
The new permitted development changes will allow the change of use of an agricultural building to a dwelling house. It allows for the conversion of floor space up to 450 square metres per agricultural holding, creating up to 3 individual dwellings.
The changes apply to existing buildings being used for a sole agricultural use in connection with a trade or business as of 20th March 2013, or if the site is not in use on that date, when it was last in use. For any new agricultural buildings built or brought into an agricultural use after this date, the building must be in agricultural use for at least 10 years before these permitted changes can be applied.
It should be noted that the changes only apply in England and cannot be exercised in certain areas including National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Special Scientific Interest (SSSi) and Conservation Areas, a safety hazard area or a military explosives area. Nor do they apply to Listed Buildings, or if the site contains a Scheduled Monument.
The new permitted development rights also allow for material amendments necessary to convert the building to a residential property. These are identified as the installation or replacement of windows, doors, roofs or exterior walls, water, drainage, electricity, gas or other services, including any partial demolition needed to carry out the these works. However, any development would not be able to extend outside of the footprint of the external dimensions of the existing building.
Whilst developers will be able to use the curtilage of the building as garden, new dwellings built under these conditions will not benefit from normal residential permitted development rights, for example to extend or erect garages or sheds will still require full planning permission.
Applying under the new regulations
An application for prior approval must be submitted to the Council to give them an opportunity to officially determine whether to proposal is permitted and to consider the following issues:
· Transport and highways impacts - Noise impacts
· Contamination risks at the site - Flooding risks on the site
· Whether the location or siting of the building is practical and desirable for a dwelling
· Design and external appearance
The Council may also ask for further information that it deems necessary, including risk analysis and details of any intended work to be carried out. Upon receipt of a valid application, the Council have 56 days to make a decision; if a decision is not issued within this time then development can begin and if the Council refuse your prior notification application you will have a right of appeal.
It should be noted that once work has completed, any new agricultural storage buildings cannot be constructed under permitted development rights for a period of 10 years. Likewise, any new agricultural storage buildings erected under permitted development rights since 20th March 2013 or in the future, will not then be able to take advantage of the rights to change to residential uses for a period of 10 years.
Agricultural buildings that currently form part of an agricultural tenancy agreement (or have done in the past year) may be converted under the new rules but with the permission of both the landlord and the tenant.
Other permitted developments
The new provisions also allow for the conversion of agricultural buildings up to 500 square metres to a state-funded school or registered nursery, subject to conditions.
Similarly, provisions introduced last year allow agricultural buildings of up to 150 square metres to be converted into a range of commercial uses including shops, restaurants and cafés, offices, storage and distribution, hotels or assembly and leisure uses, again subject to conditions.